Louisiana news briefs
State holds $113M bond sale for Interstate 49 work
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana has sold $113 million in bonds to pay for continued roadwork on Interstate 49, mainly the northern section.
State Treasurer John Kennedy said the bond sale happened Tuesday.
The state sells bonds to investors for upfront cash to pay for construction projects, with the borrowing debt paid off over time with interest.
The I-49 bonds will be paid off with revenue from the state’s unclaimed property fund. Kennedy says the bonds’ interest rates will range from 2 percent to 5 percent.
The $113 million will be split, with $92 million slated to pay for work on I-49 North and $21 million put toward work on I-49 South.
Kennedy says the money generated by Tuesday’s bond sale helps to continue construction of one of Louisiana’s most important infrastructure projects.
Jindal appoints interim mayor
for Port Allen
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal has appointed former Port Allen Mayor Lynn Robertson as the interim mayor for the city until a special election is held to fill the spot.
Robertson, the city’s first woman mayor, served three terms from 1993 to 2004.
Jindal said Tuesday that Robertson will fill the vacancy that resulted from the recall of former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter.
Jindal also set the primary election for Saturday, April 5.
Robertson, a real estate broker and executive director of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, has agreed to serve as interim mayor and says she will not seek to run in the special election.
Lake Charles doctor gets a year for fraud case
LAFAYETTE — A Lake Charles doctor has been sentenced to a year in prison for defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies out of close to $1 million.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik sentenced 64-year-old Dr. Lynn E. Foret in addition to three years of supervised release. He also was ordered to pay $871,948 in restitution and a $25,000 fine.
Foret, who specialized in orthopedic surgery since 1976, pleaded guilty April 18. Evidence presented at the plea says from 2003 to 2009 Foret injected his patients’ knees with a steroid solution while falsely billing and receiving payments from Medicare, Medicaid and private companies for a more costly drug called Hyalgan.
Foret closed his practice last December.
Hammond may use drug money for school protection
HAMMOND (AP) — The Hammond City Council has introduced an ordinance to transfer more than $31,000 in money taken from drug busts to fund the purchase of police equipment that would be used in the event of a school shooting.
The money would come from an account filled with money seized primarily from drug dealers and narcotics busts.
Hammond Police Chief Roddy Devall said the money would purchase bulletproof shields that can be used to help reach an injured person or approach a shooter. The money also would be used to buy non-bulletproof vests for officers to carry more ammunition, along with additional clips to carry more bullets.
Parents decry lack of information about reported rape
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Woodlawn High School Principal Daniel Edwards is defending his decision to limit information available about a 14-year-old student who told authorities she was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom.
School leaders alerted parents of the students involved, but not other Woodlawn parents.
A 16-year-old boy was booked with forcible rape two weeks after the Oct. 3 incident. East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies took out an additional warrant last week for another teen accused of standing watch outside the bathroom.
School officials note the importance of shielding the victim’s identity in explaining why they didn’t issue mass notifications to parents. But some students and parents say the alleged rape raises a safety issue and that they should have been informed.
Hearing: Which court should hear coastal lawsuit?
NEW ORLEANS — A legal tug-of-war continues in a state levee board’s lawsuit against 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies over the erosion of wetlands.
The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East wants U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown to send the case back to Orleans Parish Civil District Court, where the board filed it in July.
Attorneys for Chevron USA Inc. got the lawsuit moved to federal court in August, arguing that federal laws govern many of its claims.
Since then, lawyers have filed hundreds of pages of arguments and exhibits just on the question of which court should hear the case.
Brown scheduled arguments today.
The lawsuit says oil and gas canal and pipeline work has contributed to the erosion of wetlands that protect New Orleans when hurricanes move ashore. Corrosive saltwater from a network of oil and gas access and pipeline canals has killed plants that anchored the wetlands, letting waves sweep away hundreds of thousands of coastal land, it says.
Bond cut for man accused of shooting pastor
LAKE CHARLES (AP) — A state district judge has reduced by half the bond of a man charged with shooting a Lake Charles pastor in front of his congregation.
Judge Clayton Davis on Monday cut 54-year-old Woodrow Karey’s bond to $500,000, following Karey’s indictment on a manslaughter charge.
Karey has been held at the Calcasieu Correctional Center since his arrest Sept. 27 on a second-degree murder charge. Karey is accused of walking into Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center during a night revival service and shooting Pastor Ronald Harris twice. He surrendered, telling deputies Harris raped his wife.
District Attorney John DeRosier describes the new bond as reasonable.
2 arrested, accused of beating disabled man
HOUMA (AP) — Houma police have arrested two men accused of beating a disabled man last month as he walked in his neighborhood.
Police say 19-year-old Tre Paul Britton and a 17-year-old were booked Monday with the armed robbery and second-degree battery of 26-year-old Kenny Matherne on Nov. 11. Each is being held in the Terrebonne Parish jail on a $250,000 bond.
Jury ‘at a standstill’ in ex-BP engineer’s trial
NEW ORLEANS (AP) (AP) — A deadlocked jury will return for a third day of deliberations in the case against a former BP engineer charged with deleting text messages to obstruct a probe of the company’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Jurors deliberated for more than eight hours over two days before telling U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. late Tuesday that they were “at a standstill” and having trouble reaching a verdict in the case against 52-year-old Kurt Mix, of Katy, Texas.
About an hour after Duval insMix is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice. He didn’t testify at his two-week trial.
From The Asssociated Press.